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5.6 Types of Separation

5.6 Types of Separation

Most separations from employment at the College are voluntary resignations. Any involuntary separation must be determined in consultation with the Office of Human Resources and must be handled in a manner that is equitable and in compliance with existing laws, as well as Ithaca College policies.

5.6.1 Voluntary Separation


5.6.1.1 Minimum Notification Requirement

Employees are required to give appropriate notice and submit a letter of resignation as far in advance as possible. Under usual circumstances, a resignation should be submitted not less than two weeks in advance of departure. Employees in Bands K and above are expected to work for the duration of their employment agreements and to give one month’s notice of non-continuation. The supervisor may waive or shorten the notice requirement.

5.6.1.2 Retirement

Social Security retirement benefits are payable as early as age 62, depending on the employee’s retirement plans and anticipated earnings. It is recommended that an application be filed at the local Social Security office three months prior to the retirement month.

For retirement planning purposes, normal retirement is defined as the first day of the month following the month of an employee’s 65th birthday (e.g., if birthday is October 10th, then retirement will begin on November 1st). An employee may elect to retire prior to age 65 or may continue to work beyond normal retirement age. Since most employees decide on a retirement date months in advance of the actual date, supervisors should encourage as much notification as possible. Advance notification enables a smoother transition for the employee and the department. The employee can complete the necessary procedures to receive the employee’s pension on time and the department can recruit and train a replacement.

5.6.2 Involuntary Separation

5.6.2.1 Discharge

DURING THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD

An employee who is not able to successfully complete the probationary period will be terminated. The supervisor must evaluate an unsuccessful probationary employee on or before the last day of the probationary period (or extend probationary period). If a supervisor is not satisfied with the performance of a probationary employee, the supervisor should consult with the Office of Human Resources. The dismissal of a probationary employee must be discussed with the Office of Human Resources before informing the employee, and must be confirmed in writing to the employee.

Probationary dismissals may be effective immediately providing the employee has been given a prior written indication that the employee has not been progressing satisfactorily, otherwise a two-week notice will be expected. A supervisor, with approval from the Office of Human Resources, may make payment in lieu of notice.

AFTER THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD

Supervisors have a responsibility to terminate employees whose performance is inadequate after the employee has been given timely notice of the problem and been given adequate opportunity to bring the employee’s work to a satisfactory level of performance. Cases must be handled according to the discipline procedures. Employees on annual employment agreements will be given three-month’s notice of non-continuance of appointment (or payment in lieu of such notice). All other employees will be given two-week’s notice. The supervisor may relieve the employee from the performance of the employee’s usual duties or assign the employee to other duties during the notice period.

It is recognized that some causes for involuntary separation may be so serious that dismissal must be immediate. In such cases, normally no payment will be made in lieu of notice.

All dismissals must be discussed at the department director level, with the associate vice president for human resources or director of employee relations, and the employee’s executive officer, if appropriate, before notifying the employee. Written notification, approved by the Office of Human Resources, must be given to the employee.

The College, acting through its board of trustees or its designee or designees, reserves the right to terminate employees without notice and without payments in lieu of notice in appropriate circumstances as determined by the College’s board of trustees or its designee or designees in their sole discretion.

5.6.2.2 Furlough and Recall

5.6.2.2.1        Applicability

This policy shall apply to all at-will employees of the College.

5.6.2.2.2        Definitions

A furlough is defined as an action involving the temporary reduction of employees due to business necessity.

For benefit purposes, Participant means an employee who is enrolled in a College sponsored employee benefit such as health insurance or tuition remission.

Termination date is defined as the employee’s last day of active employment with the College prior to being placed on furlough.

5.6.2.2.3         Furlough Procedure

If the College determines that it must temporarily reduce its workforce, furloughs and recall from furloughs will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the procedures below:

After a decision has been made to conduct furloughs, affected department administrators must contact Human Resources for assistance with planning the restructuring of their organizations and planning and implementing furloughs.

As an alternative to reduction of employees within a job classification within a department by furlough, a dean or Vice President may reduce the number of hours or days to be worked in a workweek by some or all of the employees within the affected job classification. Such a reduction may not exceed a threshold that would trigger any applicable WARN act without authorization from the General Counsel.

The following criteria will be used to determine employees to be furloughed:

  1. All decisions will be made without regard to age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law. Decisions shall be made on the basis of the following criteria (in no particular order):
    1. College needs and special projects
    2. The requirements of work involved
    3. Transferability of skills to other positions within the College
    4. Demonstrated and documented current and past performance
    5. Seniority
  2. In no instance should a furlough process be utilized simply as a means of resolving unsatisfactory performance.
  3. The decision to furlough an employee must be discussed with the appropriate dean or Vice President. The Vice President for Human Resources and Planning (or designee) should be informed at the earliest possible stage, so alternatives can be explored, and the impact minimized for any employee affected by the change.

An employee who is selected for furlough shall be given a minimum of two weeks’ written notice, or pay in lieu of notice, after the College makes the decision to furlough the employee. In giving notice of furlough, the College shall abide by all applicable laws, including but not limited to the New York State WARN Act (Article 25-a of the Labor Law) and the federal WARN Act (29 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.) and accompanying regulations. 

On the termination date, the employee is required to turn in all College property, including identification cards, keys, uniforms, tools, parking permits, library books, electronic equipment, and electronically stored data to their Supervisor or the Vice President for Human Resources and Planning (or designee). It is the responsibility of the department in which the employee was employed to take reasonable steps to inventory and remove the employee’s access privileges to College, departmental, School, and other information systems containing personal or proprietary data in a timely manner.

5.6.2.2.4         Recall

Individuals who are furloughed will be maintained on a recall list for twelve months or until the College determines that the furlough is permanent, whichever occurs first.

Individuals will be recalled according to the needs of the College. The decision as to which employee to recall shall be based on a consideration of the skills of the eligible individuals on the recall list and the needs of the College.

Notice of recall will be sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the individual’s home address on record. Unless an individual responds to the recall notice within seven days following receipt of the notice or its attempted delivery, the individual’s name will be removed from the recall list.

Employees furloughed and recalled from the recall list will be credited with the service accumulated as of their termination date.

If an employee who is on the recall list is otherwise eligible to retire, the employee may elect to retire at any point prior to removal from the recall list by notifying Human Resources in writing of the employee’s choice to retire.

While on the recall list, individuals must inform the Office of Human Resources if they become unavailable for recall and must keep a current home address and phone number on record with Human Resources. Failure to maintain current home address and phone number will result in removal from the recall list.

Removal from the recall list terminates any re-employment rights the employee may have. Any employee who returns to work at the College after the employee’s name has been removed from the recall list shall not be credited with prior accumulated service.

5.6.2.2.5         Referral of Employees Affected by Furloughs to Existing Vacancies:

  1. Where appropriate and practicable, referrals will be made to classifications for which furloughed employees are qualified. Job candidates will compete for internal positions in accordance with the selection criteria applicable to the job.  If an employee is recalled to the same position they previously held, any otherwise applicable requirements to conduct a search may be waived.
  2. It is the responsibility of the employee notified of a pending furlough or who is on furlough to be proactive in efforts to achieve suitable alternative placement at the College or elsewhere. Furloughed employees will be expected to keep abreast of available jobs, be available to accept appointments for interviews and complete all steps of the application process. An application for an alternative placement does not guarantee that the furloughed employee will be offered any alternative placement.

5.6.2.2.6         Releases

To the extent any employee is asked to sign a release in connection with a furlough, the College will comply with the requirements of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 USC Chapter 14 and accompanying regulations, including but limited to the informational requirements of 29 CFR 1625.22(f), as applicable.

5.6.2.2.7         Eligibility for benefits

  1. COBRA
    1. A Participant and a Participant’s eligible dependents who are enrolled in the College’s group health plans on the Participant’s Termination Date may choose to continue participation in those plans following the Participant’s Termination Date, if they satisfy all the applicable COBRA continuation coverage provisions of those plans.
    2. If a Participant chooses to participate in the applicable health plan under COBRA, the College shall pay the same proportion of the cost of coverage that it pays for active employees through December 31, 2020.
  2. Educational Benefits
    1. ​If a Participant and/or the Participant’s dependents are receiving benefits under the College’s Tuition Remission Program and/or the College’s Cash Award Scholarship Plan as of the Participant’s Termination Date, then the right to receive similar tuition benefits shall continue under the Supplemental Tuition Program described in this Section as if the Participant’s employment continued through May 31, of the academic year following the Employee’s Termination Date, including those eligible dependents for whom the Participant is receiving tuition benefits as of the Participant’s Termination Date and those who have been accepted for admission for the academic year following the Employee’s Termination Date.  However, the maximum benefit through the end of the academic year following the Employee’s Termination Date, shall be the same as that provided for eligible dependents of eligible active employees under the College's Tuition Remission Program and/or the College's Cash Award Scholarship Plan. 
    2. If a Participant is enrolled as a student at the time of furlough, the Participant may enroll under the Tuition Remission Program for a final total of up to 8 credits through the end of the academic year during which the termination date occurred. 
    3. Use of any of the Tuition Remission Program benefits described in this Section shall be subject to all applicable withholding and payment requirements under the Internal Revenue Code.
  3. Other Benefits 
    1. ​​Although the determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits is not within the control of the College, the College agrees to answer truthfully all questions in any official documentation it receives regarding such benefits and in a manner that is consistent with the fact that Participant's employment was involuntarily terminated as a result of a furlough.
    2. Eligible employees who successfully completed their probationary period as of their termination date shall receive payment for accrued vacation leave balance up to the maximum allowed.
      1. If a furlough is expected to last less than 30 days, unused vacation days accrued will not be paid out until the earlier of (i) the employee declines an offer to be recalled, or (ii) the furlough lasts more than 30 days.
      2. If the furlough is expected to exceed 30 days, unused vacation days accrued will be paid within two pay periods after the termination date. If unused vacation days accrued are paid out and the individual is recalled, the vacation balance will start over at 0.
    3. Employees who are furloughed will not continue to accrue vacation or sick leave after their termination date.
    4. Employees who are furloughed without notice will receive two weeks pay in lieu of notice following their date of notification.
    5. Following a Participant’s Termination Date, the Participant shall not be entitled to coverage under the College’s long-term disability, business travel accident programs, or any other plan or program maintained by the College to provide benefits to employees or former employees of the College except as expressly provided herein.
    6. The College will provide each Participant with such employment references as the College’s Vice President for Human Resources shall consider appropriate.
    7. In no event shall a Participant be entitled to receive benefits under this Section that will duplicate benefits provided under another plan, program, policy, practice, agreement or other arrangement.  However, a Participant who was eligible to retire from service with the College, and who was otherwise eligible for College-provided benefits as a retiree shall continue to be eligible for those benefits provided to eligible retirees of the College (subject to the terms of the applicable benefit plans, programs, and policies).

Notwithstanding policy provision to the contrary, if the College ever determines that any benefit under this Section would result in a violation of any applicable law or regulation, the College shall have the right to not provide such benefit.

5.6.3 Other Separations

5.6.3.1 Medical Disability

If an employee is unable to work due to illness or injury, the employee may be entitled to New York State disability for up to 26 weeks or Workers’ Compensation for a period to be determined by the Workers’ Compensation Board. After six months, a covered employee may be entitled to long-term disability benefits.

When an employee is disabled, the employee’s job is normally kept open for six months. If after six months the employee is unable to return, the employee may request a three-month unpaid leave of absence and retain rights to the job. The period of time from the first day of absence until the end of the leave may not exceed nine months, and the leave is granted only if it is likely that the employee will be able to return at the end of the leave. After six months of absence, in a 12-month period (nine months if granted the three month leave of absence) the individual is separated from employment.

5.6.3.2 Death of an Employee

The supervisor should meet with the a member of the Office of Human Resources to discuss contact with the family and the involvement of the College in the funeral or memorial arrangements, as well as to work out the details of benefits, final paycheck, and personal belongings.

Last Updated: April 16, 2020